Choosing the Right Words - Part 1

Written by Ken Johnson

Last week I stood looking at the Atlantic Ocean and marveled at its expanse. I find no difficulty imagining the thoughts of early people who believed that the world ended at the horizon or of those who believed that people could never circumnavigate the globe once they discovered that they did not fall off the edge of the world. Of course, my thoughts wandered to words. Former college profs tend to think that way, and I thought of the difficulties we face while choosing the right words from an ocean of potential words. A little weird, huh? Well, bear with me.

One description of writing says that authors write their words, set them afloat into the marketplace of ideas, and readers decide what the authors meant. That may offer the best description of writing. It may also offer the best description of marketing, for we create what we hope will compel people to buy our products and leave it up to them to decide our effectiveness. As authors or as marketers, choosing the right words to affect our readers should become our second most important action.

So, choosing the best words from our ocean of words doesn't come first? Well, no. I know. I sort of led you down the path I wanted you to go (See how this works?), but I want to stop you and change your thoughts. So, where do you start? You start with understanding your audience. Before you ever write a word of marketing material, you must know the audience for whom you will create your wonderful prose!

What do you know about your audience? Do you know their ages, their incomes, when they last bought from you, what they bought, how many times they visited your site and just looked, what they looked at, how long they stayed, their education level, along with a host of other potential data points? The more you know about your customers (your audience), the better you can touch their emotions and their decisions with your words.

Lesson number 1: Know your audience. Know all about them that you can possibly know. Once you know that, then you may start deciding what words will serve as the most effective motivator.

And about that great expanse of words that you may choose from? Check the next installment of this blog, and you'll learn more about the growing importance of choosing the right words.

- Ken Johnson

Read Choosing the Right Words - Part 2 »